10.30.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Ghostly Shots

Welcome back to Wordless Wednesday!

Last Friday, I gave a tip on how to create ghostly images.

You can read about it here.

My youngest helped me with these shots.

Enjoy and come back on Friday for more photography tips!




Join Linky below!


10.28.2013

Monday's Musings - Time is a Double-Edged Sword

Time is a double-edged sword. 

At least when it comes to healing after a loss.

As many of you know, I lost both my mom and father-in-law two weeks apart in May. It's definitely been one of the hardest seasons of my life. 

But it's not the first time I've suffered loss. I miscarried twice. One of those was about halfway through my pregnancy. 

So loss is an old friend. We all have losses. Some, harder than others. 

But I learned something odd about time. It really is a double-edged sword. 

We know the expression, "Time heals all wounds."

There is definitely some wisdom in that. I lost my last grandparent when I was in the sixth grade. At the time, it was so painful. But I can talk about her now without crying. Does that mean I don't miss her? No. It just means I've adjusted to life without her. 

The same with my miscarriages. The loss never goes away. But it does get easier to handle. And, when it's in perspective, I can comfort other women as I have been comforted. 

So the farther away from pain, the easier it is to deal with the loss. 
I know that's coming for me. Losing my mom will always hurt. But my grief will become manageable. 

But that's where the other side of time comes in. 

When I lose someone, I want time to stand still so I can be as close to the one I lost as possible. 

I don't want to forget mom's voice, her smile, her quirks. 

I want to remember her faith, her love, her encouragements. 

As time passes, though, I will forget some things. 
And as much as I don't want to admit it, that's really okay. 

I'm learning to trust God that I will remember what I need to. 
That mom taught me all she needed to. 
That God will care for me through these losses.

As much as I want time to stand still and hurry along simultaneously, the solution to the quandary is to trust God. 

That He will help me through. 

Through all the holidays that are coming. 

Through all the anniversaries.

Through all the hard times.  

Because I've walked this journey before.
And He's brought me this far.

He's not going to abandon me now. 

This I know. 

May you find God's grace in your life today. 

And may you remember God's grace from your past. 

Mary



 

10.25.2013

Photo Tip Friday - Creating Ghostly Photographic Images

Welcome Back! 

With Halloween fast approaching, I decided to teach you how to create ghostly photographic images. 

I learned this photo technique from my brother (who is in these shots with me) way back in the 80's. On film. 

I finally realized I could duplicate it on digital. These are some old shots from 2008. 

Come back for Wordless Wednesday where I will show you some current shots! 

So, today's tip will definitely be more technical. But worth it. 

Let's get started! 

In order to create an image that you can see through, you will need certain conditions. 

1) It's much easier at night or in a dark room. You can't really recreate the ghostly images in bright light. 

2) A tripod or stable surface to leave your camera on. 

3) The ability to use your Bulb (B) setting on your camera. 

4) Willing subjects. 

Now to the pictures! 


As you can see, I'm sitting on steps. But I look like a ghost...

This shot was taken at night. 

I played around and settled on ISO 200 for the shot. If you get the ISO up to 1600, it won't require too much light and then you can't leave the shutter open for long enough to move out of the picture. 

I set the Aperture on f/22 which lets a smaller amount of light in so the shutter could be open long enough without it being over exposed. 



Here I am with my oldest brother. 

So, how do you get a ghostly image with no post picture editing?

Simple. Notice the time the shutter was open....4.5 seconds. 

My brother sat as still as he could (but he is a tad blurry.) I sat in the picture for about 2 seconds then bolted out of the shot. 

The result is that he is captured normally, but my image AND the stairs behind me are also captured in the long exposure. I become a ghost. 

Of course we had to be silly.

Again, notice I'm a tad blurry since I had to sit still for 6 seconds. Notice I could be an actress with all the shock on my face....

We couldn't help but laugh. It was so much fun to do.

So, give it a try. Start with the ISO, time and Aperture that I used. Then, modify as needed. 

Not sure what ISO and Aperture mean? Check out my blog posts that explain them here:  
PART 1  
PART 2 
PART 3

You will have to take a few shots to get it right. But at least with digital, you can see what you did immediately. When my brother and I did this in the 80's, you had to wait til the film was developed to see if you had done it right. 

Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking! 

Mary

10.22.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Bald Eagle


Welcome back for Wordless Wednesday!

I was able to get a couple of great shots of a Bald Eagle at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. 

(The animals they have are unable to live in the wild due to injury.)




Join Linky below!

Come back Friday for photography tips when I will teach you how to take ghost shots!!


10.18.2013

Photo Tip Friday - Using Your Smart Phone Camera

Welcome back!

Today's post is a special edition Part 2 about getting the subject you want in focus. You can read part 1 here.

Since most people carry around smart phones and use them for photography, I want to teach you how to understand yours.

Then, you can apply this technique when using your smart phone camera.

Let's get started.

I'm going to show you photos with two different depths of field. Also known as your "focal point".


I used my computer keyboard so you can try this at home.

In this first shot, I placed my phone almost level with my keyboard. 
Then, I focused on the word "enter".
Notice what part of the picture is clear. 














This shot is from my DSLR. Here is what focusing on "enter" will look like if you have an iPhone.


Just touch on the part of the screen where you want it to focus.









Here, I focused near the letter "E".


Notice that "enter" is very blurry now. 

And the back of the picture is clearer. 










Here is what focusing on the letter "E" looks like. 

So, how can you apply this?

Be more aware of what you want to focus on. When you take a picture of a flower, get the part you want in focus. Whether it's in the foreground or background of your shot. 

Here's a beautiful flower called a Confederate Rose. 


So now you have an assignment! 

Try out your smart phone camera. Take pictures of various objects, changing the focal point. 

And enjoy! 

As always, leave comments below and feel free to ask questions. 



Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking!

Mary!

10.16.2013

Wordless Wednesday - 34,000 Feet

Welcome Back to Wordless Wednesday! 

Today's shots come to from 34,000 feet. 






Drop back by on Friday for photography tips! 

Last week's tip was about focusing on the subject you want, click here.

This week's tip will be applied to taking pictures with your cell phone! 

Join Linky below! 

Happy Wordless Wednesday!





10.14.2013

Monday's Musings - Life Lessons from a Morning Glory

I used to think Morning Glories were just a weed - a nondescript flowering vine to be pulled from a garden. 

Now I want to grow them. In my yard. 

I love everything about them. 

Their colors. 
Their leaves. 
Their tenacity. 

I've learned life lessons from them as I've spent time photographing them.

They seem to be a wise flower to me. 

One of the first things I've noticed is that they can grow under some difficult circumstances. 

These grow by a very busy road outside of my neighborhood. 

Yet, they cheerfully waves to every passing car, whether the drivers or passengers notice or not. 

And they don't mind growing on rusty fence posts or barbed wired. 

It makes no difference to them. 

But to me, it makes them stand out even more against such a harsh backdrop. 




And then there are the leaves. 
They're shaped like a heart. 

A perfect heart. 

Holding on tenaciously to the rusty fence. 

Lovingly wrapping its tendrils around the barbed wire. 

And that's when it hit me. 

Truly, love conquers all. When it comes from God. 

He loving wraps his arms around us when we're cranky, rusty, harsh.  

He shows us by example how to love our enemies. 

How to forgive others and ourselves.

How to grow and flourish where ever we're planted. 

I love the idea of God wrapping his arms around me. 
Walking with me in life. 

I know he does. 

I just love having a picture of that, playing out in my mind. 

He wants to wrap his arms around you today, too. 

Showing you what true love is. 

I pray that you will feel his love today. 


Mary

10.11.2013

Photo Tip Friday - Learning How to Focus on the Subject You Want

Welcome Back! 

Today's tip is learning how to focus your camera on the part of the subject you want to focus on. 

That may sound rather boring or obvious, but you can use this technique to create some stunning results. 

Technical part: for DSLR (cameras with interchangeable lenses) cameras and "point and shoot" cameras

When you look through the view finder of your camera, you will notice that right before you snap the picture, a little red dot/dots appears in the viewfinder. 
This/these are the point/points your camera is both focusing on and reading the lighting on. 

Why is this important? 

Because the focal point is what the camera adjusts to. If you have a subject and background that are far away from each other, where the camera focuses is very important. Examples are below.

Practical part:

You can control this! (Tips for cell phone photo takers next week in part 2!)

After you compose your shot, you can depress the button you use to take the picture halfway down and see exactly what your camera is focusing on. 

You can use this to help take better shots. 

How?

Let's look at a dramatic example....


I was actually trying to get the lady bug in focus.


Notice how the leaves and fence are in more or less in focus and the background is a beautiful, soft green? 

This is because the subject and background are so far away from each other. 


Now, look at this shot. 


It's just a bad shot. Why am I showing this? Because it's the exact same picture as above, but with the wrong focal point. 

The focal point ended up being the ground, several feet away. This just blurred the foreground. I kept the shot on my camera specifically to share with you. 


I truly don't want you to think every shot I take turns out the way I want. I get some lousy shots. But that's OKAY! It's all about learning how to make our cameras do the things we want them to. 

If you think about your shots as you take them and take a quick peek right afterwards, you can often times snap another one and improve on it. 

Digital is free! 
Take multiple shots and pick out the best! 

So, after taking 20 or so shots, I captured some I was really happy with. That little lady bug was moving around so getting the focal point right took some patience! 







But it was worth it! 

I was rewarded with some great closeups! 











Which shot do you like the best and why? 

Come back next Friday when I'll cover how to change the focal point during the composition of your pictures!




Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking! 

Mary

10.08.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Morning Glory

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! 

Things have been a bit crazy around here. 

But I took a moment to stop and appreciate the morning glories....



Join Linky below and come back on Friday for photography tips. 

Sorry I missed last week's tip, we had a medical situation, but it is resolved and I should be good for this week! 

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

10.07.2013

Monday's Musings - What Does Love See?

I had an argument with my best friend. 

But not an argument you'd expect.

This is the picture. Edie wanted me to use it.
It was about her weight. 

Again, it wasn't what you'd expect. 

You see, several years ago, Edie Melson was celebrating that she'd lost 100 pounds. I was thrilled for her! She pulled up a computer picture at her heaviest, back in 2006. 

When she turned the screen to me, I promptly said, "Oh, I didn't know you then."

That's when the argument started. 

Her response? "Yes, you did."

Me? "No, I didn't. I never knew you at that weight."

"Yes, you did." She pulled up the date of the picture. 

My mouth dropped. 

She was right! 

I was stunned. 

Her response, though, was precious. "You didn't see it because you loved me."

She was right once again. 

I never saw her as her weight. 


I saw her as my friend. 
As a great writer, a great critique partner.

That's when I realized how powerful love can be. 
How it can change how I see others. 

It's not about what someone looks like. 
It's about seeing their heart. 
Their character. 

It's about the relationships we have with each other.

This idea of what love sees didn't originate with me.

It starts with God.
How God looks at us with love. 
How he sees straight to our hearts. 

I'm thankful to have caught a glimpse of his love through an argument. 
An argument I was happy to lose!

Look at Edie now! Beautiful as ever.....




10.02.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Last of the Summer Waves

Welcome back to Wordless Wednesday! 

Here are the last of the summer waves and clouds from our recent beach trip. 

Enjoy!







Join LINKY below and come back on Friday for photography tips!